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Meet the Candidates

To prepare for the upcoming school elections, the Levittown School District, on May 1, held a “meet the candidates” forum, where members of the voting public were given a chance to ask questions from each of the five candidates in the race. 

The event highlighted several hot-button issues, including the school’s financial planning, the implementation of the common core learning standards, transportation, and the gap elimination adjustment. 

 

Challenger Marian Adrian, a 1991 Division Avenue High School graduate, opened the forum with some concerns regarding the district’s proposed spending plan for 2014-2015 and its projections over the next five years. 

 

“I am concerned that we plan on dipping into reserves for the next five years until it’s depleted,” said Adrian.

 

Incumbent Michael Pappas, when asked about the district’s fate and how it is tied to the gap elimination adjustment, echoed Adrian’s concerns about spending out of the district’s reserve funds. 

 

According to Pappas, Levittown school district has spent close to $30 million between the 2009-2010 school year to the present on the Gap Elimination Adjustment. 

 

“It’s only a matter of time before you’re going to see districts fall,” Pappas said. “We have insulated [the school district’s finances] to push our expiration date to July 1, 2018.” 

 

In order for the school district to use its reserves, voters must pass a referendum to spend out of its savings. 

 

The candidates also addressed New York State’s roll-out of the Common Core Learning Standards assessments, which were first adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in 2010 to assess students in grades 3-8 on the knowledge and skills they must achieve within each grade-level to better prepare themselves for college and careers. 

 

This past year, members of the Levittown Board of Education denounced the implementation of the Common Core assessments by passing a resolution that calls for a reduction in the reliance on standardized testing.   

 

Peter Porrazzo, an incumbent, said that while the board passed a resolution it was not against the principles of the common core but against the implementation and use of data mining to access a student’s personal information. 

 

This year, a large contingent of parents have written in letters to the district telling them they want their kids to “opt out” of taking the state tests. Porrazzo added that while the “opt out” movement has been a vertible lightning rod in the community, that it should be left as a personal decision by the parent. 

 

“But there will be serious consequences for opting out,” Porrazzo said. “[The state] is not going to let this go on forever.” 

 

Karen Smith, a challenger and active member of the PTA, said that while she believes in the essence of the common core, that the implementation was flawed. 

 

“It should be conformed to each child … to fit them,” Smith said. 

 

Frank Ward, a Board of Education incumbent who has decided to run on a ticket with the two newcomers, said that he has two children in the district and that he understands how difficult it is for parents to see their kids struggle with school. However, he added, a candidate must remain impartial to any issue that will affect the community. 

 

Among the duties entrusted to the school board, this year, the district will review several candidates to select a new Superintendent of the Levittown School District. Working with consultants from School Leadership LLC — the same agency that helped find Dr. Grossane — the Levittown Board of

Education is currently going through candidates and anticipates selecting a new superintendent for the 2014-2015 school year at the next board meeting on May 7. 

 

According to Adrian, an ideal candidate would have a clear understanding of what is the best thing for the children of the district. Pappas said that any prospective candidate needs to be a leader. For Porrazzo, a good candidate would have knowledge of every area of the district. Smith said that an ideal superintendent has to have some financial background and a basic understanding of what the community needs. Ward said the above all other aspects, the next superintendent needs to be a thinker. 

 

With time winding down before local voters go to the polls, The Levittown Tribune will continue its coverage leading up to the school district budget/trustee electionson May 20.

News

Residents are in a fervor over Nassau County’s recent decision to remove 176 oak trees along a mile-and-a-half stretch of Seaman’s Neck Road.

 

“It’s outrageous,” said local resident Lee Gardner. “It changed the entire landscape.”

 

Like most of her neighbors, Gardner said she was shocked, since the county did not notify residents. 

Nassau County drivers are up in arms due to the recent implementation of school zone speed cameras, which have issued numerous violations since they were installed just weeks ago. The source of residents beef with the county’s speed cameras stems from the cameras issuing speed violations even when school wasn’t in session.

 

Director of Nassau County Traffic Safety Chris Mistron said that while some residents were taken by surprise, summer school hours are still considered a violation period. 


Sports

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its fourth tournament on Thursday Aug. 7. We had 33 golfers and a record 8  who scored under 40.  Low overall score was won by newcomer Ed Hyne with an impressive 33, his second low net in a row. Charlie Acerra scored a solid 35, and won low overall net with a 26; his best score in 4 years.

 

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more.  The league is a 100 % handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season. The league meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., but the formal tournament dates are only the first and third Thursday of the month through late October. We will have a final luncheon with prizes on our last meeting.

Golfer Annie Park, 19, of Levittown came close at the U.S. Women’s Amateur tourney, but missed the cut, finishing at 149, 9 strokes over par and just one stroke away from the match-play cut-off. 

 

“I couldn’t make any putts, so then I had more pressure into my shots to get it closer,” Park said, “but obviously that’s not going to work.”


Calendar

Island Trees Board of Education - August 20

Theatre: The Normal Heart - August 22

KC and the Sunshine Band - August 23


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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